The current wave of digitization is changing the face of the Energy industry in many forms. And data is definitely being shaped by it. After over a year establishing relationships with businesses in this sector for Two Impulse, I can share a few data trends that were noticeable.

Certainly, this is not an exhaustive list. And it doesn’t intend to be. These are just the 5 data trends in Energy that have struck me the most.

5 Data trends in the energy

1. Sensorization is advancing fast

Companies that produce or own equipment for the energy sector find it increasingly easier to embed IoT sensors capable of providing regular readings on operational metrics for the equipment they own or produce. 

With this comes the possibility for businesses or their customers to optimize asset management processes, leading to an increase of the potential revenue for everyone in the value chain. Another example comes from companies who operate gas distribution networks and who are adapting their physical infrastructure (eg. new multiple injection points) to low-carbon gasses (biomethane and Hydrogen), bringing therefore the need for further sensorization.

 

2. Different technologies are leading to data aggregation challenges

For example, power grid operators and solar photovoltaic producers have various installations using technology from different vendors, using different standards and heterogenous information systems, with different dashboards and data collections systems. And of course, heterogeneous data. This is not only operationally inefficient but also extremely expensive, and can even lead to data processing errors when extracting data for reporting and billing. The data challenges in the Energy industry can go from monitoring and control, to maintenance and optimization of equipment, ultimately affecting production efficiency.

 

3. Database legacy solutions are becoming obsolete for today’s data

Whether we are talking about IoT sensors in industrial equipment, distribution substations or EV charging stations, most of the data coming from the boom in sensorization (voltage, current, etc) is actually time series data. In other words, data that is associated with a time stamp. And while legacy databases (relational, document, columnar, etc) may excel as “Swiss Army knives” with smaller volumes of time series data, they will struggle with performance and scalability for very large volumes. For example, producing an online report of just a few months of stored data can take several minutes. Customers trying to access their data will not be happy about this.

 

4. Data analysis is leading to value creation opportunities everywhere

Energy businesses that manage or store large volumes of data are sitting on top of a lot of untapped potential. This can range from performance metrics of solar panels, solar inverters or EV charging stations to basic customer data. Obviously, addressing the challenge of data aggregation will often come first. But once this challenge is addressed, business analysts and data scientists can look in depth into this data and make sense of where the untapped value really lies. This could mean predictive maintenance insights to anticipate maintenance cycles and predict failures impacting CapEx and OpEx. But it could also mean extracting insights from customer behavior and billing data in order to detect new segments and revenue sources.

 

5. Data Scientists are in high demand

Unlike the previous data trends in energy, this one focuses on the human resources instead of processes and tools. And while this trend is certainly a boon for professionals in a career track that was little more than a niche specialization ten years ago, it obviously puts data-driven businesses in a difficult place. In such a hot and volatile market many companies are struggling to retain Data Scientists for more than a few months. Without properly retaining knowledge and constantly reinitiating recruitment processes, this is leading to inefficiencies and wasted time.

João Ricardo

João Ricardo is a Business Developer at Two Impulse. He has 15+
years of professional experience, mostly in the aerospace sector, and
more recently in the IT sector. His professional interests include
Innovation Management, Strategy, and Business Development.